This one was interesting:

What types of medical conditions prevent employment on a cruise ship?

I couldn't see any reason to close it, but it also had the problem of being almost a question that is better with a lawyer or doctor... If someone asked about "what will make me fail a drug test for a developer job?" - it'd get closed down pretty quick, as this is somewhere between "it depends" and "get a lawyer" as there's probably a legal side.

Thoughts? Is this truly on topic?

I took a shot, figuring it was, and then thought the discussion would be worth it.

  • 2
    I had similar thoughts about this question. It also seemed way too specific to me. Other questions that are specific to IT jobs got closed in the past, so, not sure.
    – CMW
    Jan 14, 2014 at 19:46
  • 1
    Medical question + specific to a shipboard position = too specific for workplace, I think. Jan 14, 2014 at 20:57
  • Could we refocus the question to focus on ways to still get the job with the specific condition the person has? Just thinking out loud, but that might make it more of a medical question than a workplace question. I could see this going either way.
    – jmort253
    Jan 14, 2014 at 21:07
  • question requiring medicine professional to answer?
    – gnat
    Jan 14, 2014 at 21:23

1 Answer 1


"Too Specific" should never be a reason to close a question.

'Long-tail' questions may be hard to answer, but they will drive traffic to our site since we are a resource better-equipped to allow people to find (and answer) that type of question. Closing it to eliminate that possibility is a very bad thing.

The medical aspect is definitely something different. Like legal questions, I think we need to judge whether or not you need to be a doctor to answer.

My personal feeling is that this current question as-is doesn't fall in that category. Beth provided a great answer that answers the question without having to go in to medical details. It outlines:

  1. Why the companies have medical restrictions
  2. What sorts of conditions may fall under those restrictions
  3. That we aren't in a position to judge whether or not this specific case is okay or not

The first two points are perfectly on topic for this site, just like a question asking about what sorts of things may come up in a background check to block employment. What we want to avoid is questions that ask about the third point alone.


  • "When applying for a job working in the public sector, what types of information in a background check can block employment?"
  • "When applying for conscientious objector status in the military, what criteria is used to determine whether the request is legitimate?"


  • "I have a misdemeanor conviction for passing a bad check. Will this show up on my background check and bar me from working in a law office?"
  • "I have an incredibly rare mental disorder called kuchigeri, will that be covered under my employer's health insurance?"

For this question, I would just rephrase it. Currently:

Do you know of any specific medical conditions that may prevent someone from getting a job on a cruise ship? i did my medical and my SGPT/ALT blood test result was slightly elevated and i am a bit worried that it may prevent me from getting the job

Proposed revision:

I am applying for a job on a cruise ship and was asked to take a medical exam as a condition of employment. What sorts of information that comes up on a medical exam would prevent the cruise company from hiring me?

Since the question is locked I can't make the revision, but I think that question would be perfectly reasonable for this site.

In the comments, Chad says:

I think this question should probably stay closed because the important part is the test results that potentially indicate liver damage. Removing that context changes the question and is unlikely to get the answer the OP wants.

We have two choices:

  1. Leave the question closed and have it be useless to everyone
  2. Edit the question to be answerable and provide limited help to the person who asked

The latter is preferable because someone else with a similar question could be helped by the limited answer, while a closed question with no answer won't help anyone.

Our goal is to build a resource for future visitors, not just answer whatever narrow question someone is asking about today. Sometimes that means we make an aggressive edit that allows the question to get answers even though it is a different question from what is originally asked.

Closing should be a last resort for questions that can't be salvaged or aren't a good fit for our format, not something we move to first just because we can't answer the person's question as-is. As a community we should be improving posts, not just acting as a panel of judges to decide their fate.

  • 3
    "Too Specific" should never be a reason to close a question." ??? Yet this seems to happen a lot. "Off Topic" is the official reason used. For example: workplace.stackexchange.com/questions/18061/… Jan 15, 2014 at 12:00
  • Hey @Joe, I disagree with the choice of reasons for the close. I think the question borders on legal (asking if they can do that), and then gets in to ethics (should they do that) rather than asking what recourse they have (which could be something someone could answer).
    – jmac
    Jan 15, 2014 at 12:39
  • 2
    I've unlocked the question to enable edits and comments, since it's being discussed here.
    – yoozer8
    Jan 15, 2014 at 13:19
  • I think this question should probably stay closed because the important part is the test results that potentially indicate liver damage. Removing that context changes the question and is unlikely to get the answer the OP wants. Jan 15, 2014 at 19:53
  • @Chad, Providing medical advice (what a slightly elevated SGPT/ALT blood test means) is definitely outside our scope. But the person who asked may know (they may have asked their doctor, or may be able to ask). What we can do is provide an answer to the part we can answer about, and hope that the information helps someone via google who doesn't have the same medical condition but will appreciate the general advice.
    – jmac
    Jan 16, 2014 at 6:22
  • @jmac - I agree. But changing someones question so it no longer helps them is the wrong way to do that. There are 2 really bad assumptions that people can jump with the specific results asked about. That is not medical advice that is what employers think when they see elevated liver enzyme levels on a blood test. In the US unless you can prove a health risk to others you can not use that against them... but I am sure I can find about a hundred other reasons why I did not hire this person. Jan 16, 2014 at 16:03
  • @Chad, If the question is closed the asker gets no help. If the question is changed but open, the asker gets help. I will edit for the latter in a heartbeat every time.
    – jmac
    Jan 16, 2014 at 21:33
  • @jmac - No the question is changed and nolonger asks about the part the OP cares about the OP is not getting help. Jan 16, 2014 at 22:19
  • 1
    @Chad, I've included my response in the answer.
    – jmac
    Jan 16, 2014 at 23:53

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